Michigan elections board deadlocks on measure to repeal emergency law

An "Unlock Michigan" sign is seen in Dickinson County, July 2020.
An "Unlock Michigan" sign is seen in Dickinson County, July 2020.(WLUC)
Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 3:02 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Board of Canvassers has deadlocked on certifying a veto-proof initiative that would enable the Republican-led Legislature to repeal the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used the law passed in 1945 to issue sweeping coronavirus pandemic orders last year. The Michigan Supreme Court issued a ruling on Oct. 2 invalidating the law as unconstitutional.

However, the law remains on the books with no effect, which could change if the Supreme Court reverses its decision and reinstates it. Unlock Michigan led a petition drive last year seeking to repeal the law, which would wipe it off the books entirely.

The Michigan Bureau of Elections in the Secretary of State’s Office determined earlier this week that more than 460,000 signatures on the petitions are valid, which would allow the repeal to move forward. The minimum number of signatures required was 340,000.

The 2-2 party-line vote by the Board of Canvassers on Thursday means proponents of the ballot drive will go to court.

The two Democrats on the Board of State Canvassers voted not to certify the citizen-initiated measure while the two Republicans on the board voted to move it forward.

If the Unlock Michigan measure goes to the Legislature, lawmakers could vote to repeal the law without threat of a veto from Whitmer or place it on the ballot for a statewide vote.

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